ceptibility to developing obesity and components of metabolic syndrome would fill important knowledge gaps. Health problems, such as metabolic syndrome, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and measuring meaningful bio-markers of immune/inflammatory disease merit study in human populations.
The committee notes that the earlier investment in studying several exposed populations is now producing useful findings; the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Seveso, Air Force Health Study, and Army Chemical Corps cohorts all merit continuing follow-up or more comprehensive analysis. It is especially important that longitudinal analyses be conducted on cancer, cardiovascular, and reproductive outcomes represented in the complete database assembled in the course of the Air Force Health Study. The committee endorses VA’s actions toward restarting the congressionally mandated National Vietnam Veterans Longitudinal Study, derived from the cohort originally studied in the National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study.
The committee notes that its recommendations are similar to those offered in previous updates and that there has been little activity in several critical areas. The fate of the assemblage of data and biologic samples from the Air Force Health Study remains unsettled; in the interim, critical integrative analyses such as longitudinal evaluation of the cancer data have not yet been made public, and the unique potential of this resource languishes. It is the committee’s conviction that work needs to be undertaken promptly to resolve questions regarding several health outcomes, importantly COPD, tonsil cancer, melanoma, Alzheimer disease, and paternally transmitted effects to their offspring. Creative analysis of VA’s own data resources and further work on cohorts that have already been established may well be the most effective way to address those outcomes and to gain a better understanding of the role of herbicide exposure in development of PD in Vietnam veterans.